Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams MP helps launch poverty report

11.41.11am BST (GMT +0100) Thu 7th Sep 2006

Stephen Williams MP was the guest speaker at the launch of a key new report on global poverty. The report 'In the Public Interest' was written by Oxfam and Wateraid and was launched at Bristol's Council House. The report calls for more investment in basic public services in developing nations. Millions of people lack access to clean water and an efficient sewage system. Disease is often the result. Millions of children do not attend school and mothers often give birth without the medical support of a mid wife.

In his speech Stephen Williams compared conditions in Africa to those in Britain 250 years ago. He said "It is unacceptable that people are living eighteenth century lives in a twenty first century world." Every day 4,000 children die from diarrhoea related illnesses, caused by poor sanitation. Over a hundred million children are missing out on primary school. But the MP pointed out that some poor countries achieve more than others. For instance, Sri Lanka despite being ranked 63rd in the world income rankings still manages to achieve 100% primary school enrolments, 86% access to clean water and 91% of villages have sewage treatment.

The Lib Dem MP for Bristol West believes that spreading democratic values and respect for human rights can make a huge difference. He laid particular stress on the rights of women and girls. "Too often it is the daughter in a family that misses out on school. Yet these countries need more healthcare workers such as nurses and midwives. Employment for women will increase their status. Empowerment of women in government is likely to drive through these changes."

The MP also criticised the poaching of doctors and nurses from the developing world to work in Britain's NHS.

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